How This Mom Lost 78 Pounds In 5 Months (Food and Workouts)
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
In 2018, I began my first successful weight loss program. I exercised daily and ate around 1,800 calories a day. I lost 60 lbs and was feeling amazing until I got pregnant in March 2019. The pregnancy did not come at an ideal time and depression got the best of me. I stopped exercising and went right back to binge eating like I had done my whole life.
I gained 90lbs throughout my pregnancy and was diagnosed with preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure). I was around 340 lbs the day before I gave birth and 325 lbs the day after. However, I quickly got right back up to my pregnancy weight plus more, at 360 lbs. I was at my breaking point and realized I needed to make a change.
I signed up for a bariatric surgery seminar and decided that I wanted to begin the process of getting gastric bypass surgery. My insurance required that I see a primary care provider for 6 months before I could even go to the bariatric center. So I basically decided to live my best life until that appointment. Between mid-June and the end of August, I spent over $1000 on fast food and food delivery services. I ate anything and everything I wanted. I ordered cake and ice cream from a local restaurant almost every single night. Not going to lie, it was pretty awesome. But I made a promise to myself that after August 26th, I was done binging.
My doctor gave me detailed and specific nutrition and exercise regime. Since then, I have followed it to a T (except for a couple of slip-ups). My doctor and his staff have been amazed by my progress and dedication. In a couple of days, I will have my last required appointment with my primary care doctor and then I can go see the bariatric surgeon. However, now I’m at a crossroads.
I have done so well losing weight on my own and I’m not sure that I need surgery any longer. If I lose 30 more pounds, I won’t even qualify to have the surgery covered by insurance. I have a lot to think about in the upcoming days. But for right now, I’m enjoying being almost 80lbs lighter and loving the energy I have to run around and play with my daughter. I’m so happy I decided to begin this journey regardless of what the outcome may be.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
When I first started this postpartum weight loss journey, I impulse purchased an elliptical trainer thinking I would jump right back into my pre-pregnancy workout routine. I couldn’t even do it for 5 minutes without feeling like I was going to die. So I decided to start walking instead. I would take a 20-minute walk around my neighborhood every day until it started getting too cold in mid-October. At that point, I decided to join a gym.
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On October 14th, I went to my first Les Mills Body Pump class at my gym and boy was it hard. The day after the class I was sorer than I had ever been in my life. But I kept going back and I haven’t missed a single Wednesday class since then.
My gym also started offering virtual classes, so I started doing cardio-focused classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Occasionally I do dance fitness Youtube videos from The Fitness Marshall or Zumba instead of the ones from my gym.
I have recently started going to another strength-focused class called Muscle Blast on Sundays at my gym.
Perfect Week Workout Schedule (not every week looks like this, but this is the goal):
Monday: HIIT 30 minutes
Tuesday: Zumba 30 minutes
Wednesday: Body Pump 45 mins
Thursday: Boot Camp 45 mins
Friday: Elliptical 30 mins
Sunday: Muscle Blast 45 mins
My best advice is to not get discouraged when you’re first starting. It’s going to be hard! Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Track your own progress and go at your own pace. You are capable of so much more than you think! Also, mix things up! Doing the same boring workout every day will make you dread working out. Keep it interesting by trying new things and changing them up regularly.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
My Doctor’s Nutrition Plan
Net Carbs: 37g
Based on the macros, it is basically a low-carb or keto diet. I have also been a vegetarian for the past 12 years. Most of my protein comes from vegetarian meats (like Impossible Meat), protein supplements, cheese, and eggs.
I did experience the “keto flu” the first few weeks of reducing my carb intake so I started drinking a couple of Gatorade Zeros a day to boost my electrolytes. I have dabbled with intermittent fasting, but it’s not something I like to do all the time.
A Typical Day of Eating
Breakfast: 160 cals, 2g net carbs, 5g fat, 22g protein
–Vade Protein Pack + 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
Lunch: 511 cals, 21g net carbs, 30.4g fat, 28.4g protein
-Homemade Keto Vegetarian Chili (recipe on my Youtube channel)
-28g shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-2 TBSP light sour cream
Dinner: 329 cals, 3.5g net carbs, 17.6g fat, 30.5g protein
-Egg white omelet: 11 TBSP egg whites, 28g shredded mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup baby spinach
-4 MorningStar veggie bacon strips
Snacks: 458 cals, 6g net carbs, 34.5g fat, 16g protein
-3 pieces of sugar-free Russell Stover Assorted Chocolate
Totals: 1,449 calories, 32g net carbs, 88g fat, 97g protein
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
I have taken two vacations since I started my weight loss journey. I try to be as prepared as possible before I go. I research nearby restaurants and take as much food with me as I can. However, on both vacations, I went over my macros every day. Both times it was after drinking alcohol. For me, alcohol is a gateway to not sticking to my nutrition plan. Once I start drinking, I stop tracking my macros and stop caring. So I really try to limit alcohol as much as possible.
Staying motivated has been easy so far because I have a specific goal of getting weight loss surgery. I do fear that if I decide not to have surgery, I will lose a huge part of my motivation.
If I decide to not have surgery I plan to work on my mental health with a therapist that specializes in eating disorders. I think this will help to keep my focus and not slip into depression again.
I also keep a list of goals on my phone and I look at them almost every day to help me remember what I’m working towards. Some goals include riding a roller coaster, riding a horse, completing a Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash 5k, and going zip-lining.
My best advice is to not let them slip-ups destroy everything you’ve worked for. It’s ok to slip up, it’s NOT ok to give up!
When did you start to notice progress?
I posted the first progress picture that I was actually proud of, 2 months into my journey (36lbs down). I couldn’t really see a lot of change in my body at that point, but the change in my face was undeniable. My cheeks and double chin had gone down significantly.
I wasn’t able to see the progress in my body till around 4 months into my journey (60lbs down). Even at this point, I was not seeing progress in the mirror. Luckily I had been taking progress pictures along the way and when I compared a picture from August to one in December, I could definitely see the progress.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I track my nutrition and exercise with MyFitnessPal. I pay for a premium because that is the only way it lets you track net carbs instead of total carbs. I do not subtract my exercise calories burned from my daily calorie intake (I used to do this and it led me to eat more than I should and promise myself I would burn it off later which usually didn’t happen).
I no longer wear an Apple Watch all the time and only wear it to track walking distance and occasionally to see how many calories a particular exercise burns. I felt that the Apple Watch was making me obsessive about reaching my activity goals and that’s just not what I need right now.
I use a scale with Bluetooth that connects to an app on my phone and that has made keeping track of my weigh-ins really easy.
I also take measurements of my bust, waist, arms, hips, thighs, and calves every couple of months. This is really helpful when I’m not seeing the progress in the mirror because it is usually evident in the measurements.
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
-Only weigh yourself once a week. The fluctuations from day to day can be really discouraging. To see the most accurate and satisfying results, weight once a week on the same day at the same time, wearing the same clothes (or no clothes!). If you find yourself getting bothered or discouraged still, go even longer between weigh-ins!
-Get a hobby! Especially if you are someone that eats just because they’re bored. Find something that you love and that you can truly immerse yourself in when you’re feeling like you want to eat. When I first started losing weight I decided that I wanted to learn to cross-stitch. I was terrible at it but it kept my hands and my mind occupied.
I have since given up on my cross stitch dreams, but I have upped my social media game since December. I decided to start a YouTube channel about my weight loss journey. Between getting ready to film videos, filming the videos, editing the videos, and promoting the videos, I never have an excuse to be bored anymore!
-This one is a controversial topic in the weight loss community, but accurately tracking your food intake was and is a crucial part of my process. I come from a family of big eaters and my idea of single portion size is probably a proper portion size for 2-3 people. This is why I have to weigh/measure and track everything because I’m teaching myself how to properly portion my food. So invest in a good food scale and liquid measuring cups.
I weigh out everything dry and use a liquid measuring cup to measure liquids (and just FYI, because I didn’t learn this until a few years ago, there is a difference between liquid and dry measuring cups lol). I use a food tracking app on my phone so as soon as I eat something, I can log it in. I have a bad habit of forgetting about entire meals, so logging in as soon as you eat something is really important.
-Tell everyone you know that you’re losing weight. If you’re uncomfortable with that, find an online community of people to help hold you accountable. I feel like I’m more likely to stick to my diet at a party for example if everyone there knows I’m on a weight-loss journey.
I’ve also found that by talking about it so openly, people in my life feel comfortable enough to ask me for advice to help them on their weight loss journeys. When you have people like that looking up to you, it keeps you even more motivated to be successful.
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
I’m not really big on reading or podcasts, but I will list some Youtubers that have really helped me along the way:
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
Stop making excuses and just do it! Come up with a plan and stick to it! Do your research and get a doctor or dietitian’s advice if possible. If your goal is weight loss, figure out your BMR to help you determine how many calories you should be eating to lose weight at a healthy pace. It’s ok if you struggle with things at first, just promise yourself that you’ll keep pushing and never give up!
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